Today was the day we wanted to go visit a good-sized mall, to shop (of course), but also to see what they’re like over here. After exploring the map, I came to the conclusion that Prato seems to be ground-zero for malls. There are 3 in the vicinity, and it looked like I Gigli was the one easiest to get to… more or less slightly closer to us. Having said that, I think I Gigli still has an address in Florence, but to me it looked closer to Prato.

We told Google where we wanted to go, and I saw the ‘preferred’ route took us all the way south to the autostrada at Colle di Val d’Elsa, so we could join it and go all the way north to Florence. Instead, I chose the country route, which was more direct, if perhaps taking longer, and we headed out. We promptly lost signal as we were leaving the carpark, and Google unhelpfully recalculated to the autostrada route.

What followed was a reasonably dull drive (except that bit where you go past the O), to the outskirts of Florence. Niamh drove like a boss, and remained (mostly) calm through Florence, until we got close to the other side. A couple of double-backs later (more my fault than Niamh’s) and we were good again, but vigilance was the watchword on some of the spaghetti-like junctions heading out of the urban area.

We had barely left one urban area before we were in another, and ready to find parking at I Gigli. Fortunately, there’s tons of parking to be had on the roofs of the mall! We parked… no shelter to be had, so we left the car out in the sun, in 35+ degree heat and went inside to the cooled air of the mall itself.

The ladies did a little shopping for bedclothes, towels and some wicker baskets to use as temporary trash receptacles. Niamh was ages waiting in a queue that was only 3-deep to pay for those baskets! I spotted a lovely pair of blue Bugatti shoes, but didn’t go for them in the end. At the time of writing this, I annoyed I didn’t.

Afterwards, we’d read that there was an oriental place we could go raid for food, but we couldn’t find it until we’d already eaten. We did find what looked like a dim sum place, but we needed something a little more substantial. We briefly eyed the branch of All’Antico Vinaio, but there was a literal queue of 30 people… just like there is in Florence! Soooo…..

We ate in Old Wild West. We’d eaten there a few times in Navacchio, and sometimes you just need a break from Tuscan and Mediterranean flavour-palettes. The only downside to it, was that it didn’t seem to have any working air-conditioning, so the atmosphere was a little thick and heavy there. Still, I enjoyed my ribs!

Once done, we took a little more time than was warranted in finding the car, then roasted the backsides off ourselves for a few minutes until we got ourselves air-conditioned. I did the driving home, and completely forgot that Niamh took some footage – which was a shame, as we drove home the country route through some towns. Here’s some footage from the day I did take!

Later in the evening I found myself hungry enough to have visited La Sosta del Priore and grabbed one of their yummmy burgers there. I took a couple of snaps and then must have gone home and collapsed in some sort of food coma!

I hope you enjoyed the read. Please leave a like and a comment or question about living/holidaying in the Val di Cecina!

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